Brought to you by CFEE Canadian Foundation for Economic Education

Opening Your First Bank Account

A Canadian bank account will help you to manage your day-to-day banking transactions. It will also help if you need to transfer and deposit funds from your country of origin to Canada. At Scotiabank, you can make such transfers into a Canadian, US or Euro bank account. A bank account will also help you to keep your cash in a safe place, pay any bills, and deposit cheques if you receive any payments.

When you open your bank account you will receive a bank card. For example, if you were to open your account with Scotiabank, you would get a ScotiaCard®.

You would also get a Personal Identification Number − or PIN. This card and PIN are important and you should take care to keep the card safe and the PIN secret from others. With them you should be able to get service at all of your bank’s branches (e.g. over 1,000 branches if you are banking with Scotiabank), online banking services, telephone banking, and 24 hour, 7-day a week access to ABMs. You can also use your bank card to pay for things (note: you can pay for goods and services directly from your selected bank account), and through the Global ATM Alliance you can make cash withdrawals at over one million ATMs that display the VISA** or PLUS** symbols around the world.

Note that to open your bank account and benefit from the Scotiabank StartRight Program for Newcomers, you will need:

  • Proof of Permanent Resident/Landed Immigrant Status, or Work or Study permit
  • Valid photo identification such as a foreign passport, driver’s license issued in Canada, or Permanent Resident Card

Note: You don’t need a credit history, an initial deposit, or to be employed to open your bank account.